The central government has wanted to negotiate with the farmer leaders to find a middle ground on the new agricultural law. However, farmer leaders are adamant on withdrawing the law. Six rounds of talks have been held so far.
There was first a secretary level discussion, then a ministerial level. Then on Tuesday night, Amit Shah, who holds the number two position in the government, was entered. But the efforts to convince the farmers have proved to be cipher till now.
Last Saturday, sources quoted such reports that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also held a meeting with senior ministers on this issue before the farmers’ meeting.
The central government is trying to indicate from such talks that the government is not insistent on its stand. Showing great heart, he considered the farmers’ matter and also sent written proposals for some amendments in the law on Wednesday. The farmers have rejected the government’s written proposal.
At the same time, the government is also clearly saying that new agricultural laws will not be withdrawn.
In such a situation, the question arises that after all why the government is not ready to withdraw this law? Is there only political reason behind it or is it also related to the economics of some agricultural sector. Is there any international angle in the way in which the voices of support are coming out of farmers in Canada and Britain.
To know this, the BBC talked to some journalists and agricultural experts.
‘BJP is currently in the strongest position in power, not now or never’
Senior journalist Nistula Hebbar, who has covered the BJP for years, says, “The government believes that these laws are necessary for agricultural reform. That is why these reforms were talked about not only during the tenure of the NDA but also the UPA. Sharad Pawar This is also evident from the letters of the BJP. But, no political party had the willpower to do this nor did they have the numbers in the Parliament. BJP has come with more than 300 seats in the center. If the law is not implemented now, it will never apply. “
Credit and nose question
Earlier, the Central Government had brought a land acquisition bill in Parliament. He had to drag his feet back on it. At that time, Rahul Gandhi gave the slogan of ‘Suitboot ki Sarkar’ to the Central Government in Parliament. Due to this the government was very bad. These laws have been described as very revolutionary and beneficial for farmers from different forums from the Prime Minister to the Minister of Agriculture. After all this, withdrawing the law will be like a blot on the credit of the government.
Another thing to be understood here is that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh was also not with the central government on the land reform law. However, this time the farmers’ organizations associated with the RSS, whether it is the Swadeshi Jagran Manch or the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh are telling these laws in the interest of the farmer, but with two to three reforms.
‘Opposition parties also demanded it during their tenure, hence opposition to the law is political’
Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad held a press conference two days ago and told how the Congress, NCP and other parties had supported such legislation in their respective times.
While narrating the Congress manifesto of the year 2019, he said that in the last Lok Sabha election, the Congress had promised to abolish the APMC Act. A letter written by Sharad Pawar, BJP leaders are also constantly tweeting. There has also been a backlash from Sharad Pawar and the Congress.
In the same way, where the Aam Aadmi Party government is in Delhi, one of the three laws has also been implemented. On the other hand, Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal is reaching the dharna site to meet the farmers and support them.
That is why the government feels that the new law is being opposed only to protest.
Complaints on international stage also
There is also an international angle in the whole matter. Many agricultural experts feel that the demand of farmers to make laws on MSP will not benefit the agricultural sector of India.
India is not able to negotiate the prices of its crops on the platform of the World Trade Organization (WTO). One reason behind this is India’s MSP system.
Professor Pramod Kumar Joshi has previously been the director of the South Asia Food Policy Research Institute. He says that according to international rules, a country can give subsidy to farmers up to 10 percent of agricultural GDP. Countries involved in the World Trade Organization have shown commitment to do so. More than 10 percent of the subsidy countries are accused that they are manipulating prices in the international market.
The crops on which the Indian government gives the minimum support price are seen in the international market as subsidy on crops. That is why many times our wheat-rice prices in the international market prove to be expensive than other countries and we are unable to sell crops in the international market.
In this year’s report of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP), it has been said that India’s price for many crops is more than the international market.
‘Kisan agitation belongs only to farmers of Punjab and Haryana’
As of today, the Central Government feels that the farmers of Punjab and Haryana are the only victims of these new laws. In both these states, the mandi system is much better than the rest of the states.
The system of middlemen runs in these states, who earn big money without doing anything in the name of tax. These two states also grow the most MSP crops.
The government feels that there is not much opposition to these new laws outside these two states, because most of the farmers of the country are still selling their crops outside the market even today.
In the year 2015, the Shanta Kumar Committee had said in its report that only six per cent farmers get the benefit of MSP. That is, 94 percent farmers never got the benefit of MSP.
According to the agricultural census conducted in the year 2015-16, 86 percent farmers in India have small land holdings or they are farmers who have less than two hectares of land.
But here, a small mistake happened to the government that they did not think that such a large number of these farmers would reach Delhi. The Bharat Bandh announced on Tuesday by farmers on this issue saw mixed effects in BJP ruled states like Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
‘New laws required to double farmers’ income’
Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Varanasi had said to the farmers, “I am confident, the farmers who have some doubts on agricultural reforms today will also increase their income by taking advantage of these agricultural reforms in future.”
This is an important reason for the central government not to withdraw these new laws.
Bhavna Vij Arora, the political editor of Outlook magazine, says, “I have talked to many leaders in the BJP about this. The government recognizes that these reforms are historic. Farmers will know in future how big the benefits will be It has happened and then the same farmers will thank them. Such movements happen before every reform. But, this time the government is also ready for a long battle. “
Bhavana further also says that the amendments that the government seems to be agreeing to, it is clear from this that the government has made its stand quite flexible against the earlier. But, how long the government is able to stay on the demand of not withdrawing the law in future, it will also be a matter to be seen.
The central government has promised to double the income of farmers in the year 2022. They feel that this law can play an important role in fulfilling that promise.